I always chuckle to myself when people ask me to make predictions in this game.
When will Kris Bryant be here?
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Who's going to win the National League Central?
Do you think Javier Baez will make the proper adjustments and become more patient?
We live in an opinionated world, our thoughts quickly conveyed in 140 characters or less. I am as guilty as anyone, especially when watching an NFL or NHL game in the off-season. That's when I can just react to each moment with overblown, unreasonable proclamations.
But when it comes to baseball, I have learned that predictions are, by and large, a foolish exercise.
That is especially the case when it comes to figuring out which team is going to be left standing at the end of October. And the one-game, wild-card round has added an extra wrinkle for good measure.
I don't want to criticize any colleagues, but who among baseball's punditry gets most everything right?
That's a serious question, by the way. I don't track columnists and analysts and their picks, especially after the fact. It is completely possible that there is a "Hall of Fame" baseball prognosticator in our midst, but I wouldn't know who that person is if I had to guess.
This is not to disparage those who make predictions. I get that it comes with the job of talking about baseball and sports in general.
But for all the executive producers and sports editors out there who need to fill airtime and website/newspaper space, just understand that these are at best a stab in the dark.
In any given three-day period, even the worst team in the game can sweep the best one. Then you put 10 of the best clubs in a tournament and the gap gets even smaller and trickier to sort out.
And while you want experts to present the landscape beforehand, asking them to actually say who is going to win the game or series or division is really unnecessary.
So, with all that in mind, let's get to my playoff picks!
I like the Royals to edge the Tigers on the final day of the season on a Billy Butler game-winning home run against the White Sox. Not to get too specific, but the blast will come on a Daniel Webb hanging breaking ball on a 2-2 pitch (sorry, Daniel).
Tigers fans, don't fret. Your team will grab a playoff spot, but Mike Trout will end your hopes on an 23rd-inning, game-ending single in the wild-card round off Don Kelly, who is forced to pitch because Brad Ausmus needed five relievers to navigate the bottom of the eighth.
The O's and A's will match up in the ALCS, with Oakland taking Game 7 at AT&T Park after the Coliseum's plumbing acts up again.
In the National League, Washington, Milwaukee and the Dodgers will win their respective divisions, with Pittsburgh and St. Louis battling in the wild-card game.
The Marlins will make a furious late-September push but will fall 1 game short on a overturned call via replay of a home-plate collision at Nationals Park in the bottom of the 12th.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond will be so upset he will not only rip off his jersey, but strip completely at home plate in front of a national television audience before realizing he's no longer a player, he's not in the batting cage, and it's not 2003.
I see the Giants winning the pennant even though they won't actually make the National League playoffs. I base this on the fact that Hunter Pence will find a way to make it happen.
And my World Series winner? Cubs in six, of course.
• Len Kasper is the TV play-by-play broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs. Follow him on Twitter@LenKasper and check out his baseball-blog with Jim Deshaies at wgntv.com.